Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hypocrisy suspected in school board's ban of THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST

This Monday, Cape Gazette announced that the Cape Henlopen school board in Delaware had decided to ban The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth from its summer reading list. The announcement coincidentally came just as LGBT Pride Month was ending and sparked a backlash against the school board on Twitter and the blogosphere.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a critically acclaimed young adult novel published by HarperCollins in 2012. It tells the story of a girl named Cameron growing up in rural Montana whose parents die in a car accident the same day she kisses a girl for the first time. Feeling a mixture of guilt and relief that her parents will never find out, Cameron moves in with her highly conservative aunt and eventually falls in love with her best friend, a girl. When her aunt discovers the truth, she sends Cameron to a religious conversion camp, where Cameron must decide the person she wants to be. You can read more about the book in our previous posts here.

Below is an excerpt from Cape Gazette:

Citing language deemed inappropriate for entering freshmen, Cape Henlopen school board has removed "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" from the district’s summer reading list.

The book was part of a 10-book list given to district middle school students entering high school in the fall and taking college prep and honors classes. The list, called the Blue Hen List, is a collection of books deemed age-appropriate by state librarians from across the state.

Yet, as noted on, the school board was not concerned with the same "inappropriate" language in other books allowed to remain on the summer reading list, including The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Hypocrisy, anyone? posits the real issue was not inappropriate language but rather homophobia.

Here's more on what had to say about Danforth's book:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth, published in 2012, was a YA tour de force, a book that older queers wished had been written when they were kids, lauded by numerous high-brow publications for the quality of its writing. It was also nominated for the much-coveted Morris Award, given by the American Library Association each year to the best new voice in YA. This wasn’t just a book that the gays were reading. Everybody was reading it! And loving it! called upon readers to "act now," and email the school board with complaints. They posted the complaint letter they sent themselves, as well as the email addresses of all the members of the school board. You can view these here.

Browseabout Books, a local Delaware bookstore, got in the action.  It has been working with to give donated copies of The Miseducation of Cameron Post to interested readers in the area. Find out how to donate copies to the cause here.

In a recent blog post, Danforth pointed out that other books on the Blue Hen reading list have been banned elsewhere due to their supposedly offensive language. To combat this censorship, she decided to celebrate all the books on the original list with a massive giveaway. In collaboration with Browseabout Books, she's giving away every single book on the Blue Hen list--including a signed copy of her own and possibly others' books. Here are more details:

All you have to do to enter is to use your twitter account (easiest for tech-challenged me to track and collate) to explain, in not very many characters, why you want/need these books. Use the hashtag #LeaveTheBlueHenListAlone so that I can find your entry. (The limited character count is part of the challenge.) And you have to do this by next Friday, July 11th. Feel free to tweet about this as many times as you’d like—the more entries the better.

Already, people have been putting out some great reasons why these books are so important:

And, in a very recent update on, it seems the emails coming into the school board may have begun having some effect.  One board member claimed he would make a request to reinstate The Miseducation of Cameron Post on the reading list.

We can only hope the other board members will be swayed--but in the meantime, more emails to the school board can't hurt, nor can donating more books to interested readers in the area and speaking out to prevent censorship like this from continuing to happen now and in the future.

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